John Hurt pulls out of The Entertainer after intestinal complaint
Actor Sir John Hurt has pulled out of a production of John Osborne's play The Entertainer on medical advice as he recovers from an intestinal complaint.
The 76-year-old had been due to play Billy Rice in the Kenneth Branagh Theatre Company production, directed by Rob Ashford.
Hurt said: "I have recently been in hospital with an intestinal complaint and although I am much improved and on the road to a full recovery, my doctors have advised that it is too soon for me to undertake a lengthy and arduous stage role. It is therefore with great sadness and disappointment that I must withdraw from The Entertainer.
"I would like to send Ken, Rob and the entire company my love and very best wishes for a happy and successful production of a wonderful play."
The show is due to begin previews at London's Garrick Theatre on August 20.
Branagh will play Archie Rice in the show alongside Phil Dunster, Jonah Hauer-King, Crispin Letts, Sophie McShera and Greta Scacchi.
Hurt's replacement has yet to be announced.
Hurt is best known for his film roles in Alien, V For Vendetta and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy as well as TV roles in Doctor Who and The Last Panthers.